Criminal Record Expungement and Sealing in Illinois
In today’s ever increasingly competitive job market, the stigma of a criminal conviction or arrest very often means the difference between one job candidate being hired and another having to continue their job search. Many employer’s when faced with two equally qualified candidates will choose to hire the candidate who does not have a criminal record. Having your criminal record sealed or expunged has become a must for those who are seeking to better their lives through employment or schooling opportunities.
Records of arrest have far reaching consequences. Arrest records are used by the criminal courts to assist prosecutor’s charging decisions and sentencing recommendations; judges in determining what sentence to impose on a defendant and defense counsel to better advise a client whether they should take the stand at trial, take a plea deal or take part in a sentencing hearing.
With the advent of the internet and internet databases, arrest records are more readily available than ever before.
Not every arrest or criminal case qualifies for sealing or expungement and not every case that qualifies for sealing qualifies for expungement. The statute governing expungements can be found at 20 ILCS 2630/5.
Expungement of an arrest record is generally available to a defendant if he or she has been acquitted at trial, their case has been dismissed, or after the successful completion of court supervision or 1410 probation. If the petition is granted, no record of arrest should exist and all photographs, fingerprints and other records of identification are returned to the defendant. The law enforcement agencies will destroy their record or remove all mention of your name from the public record.
If a defendant has been convicted of a criminal offense in their past, he or she may not have his arrest record expunged under the expungement statute.
If an individual has no prior convictions and has been placed on court supervision for an offense he will be eligible for expungement of his arrest record after two years have passed since the date of dismissal of the case. DUI’s or similar provisions of local ordinances do not qualify for expungement even upon the successful completion of court supervision.
It is important to retain the services of an experienced attorney to review your record and determine whether you qualify for expungement or sealing under the statute.
If a person’s record is successfully sealed, their file remains intact but under seal. The records can be labeled as “sealed”. Most of the general public will not have access to the contents of the record. However, law enforcement and certain licensing agencies will still have access to your records. As with expungement, DUIs and similar ordinance violations cannot be sealed. Further, any violations that are considered a crime of violence or require sex offender registration cannot be sealed.
If you believe that you may qualify for record expungement or sealing please contact Miller Law Offices to see how we can assist you in moving on and putting your past behind you.